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Dick’s Sporting Goods Grapples with Organized Retail Crime and Inventory Challenges




Dick’s Sporting Goods (DKS) confronted a sharp decline in its stock by over 20% on Tuesday, driven primarily by the significant impact of organized retail crime and aggressive markdowns on outdoor merchandise. These issues combined to affect the company’s Q2 profits, resulting in earnings per share of $2.80, missing the anticipated figure of $3.81 by a dollar.

Financial Highlights:

  • Earnings per share: $2.82 compared to the expected $3.81
  • Revenue: $3.22 billion against the projected $3.24 billion
  • Reported net income: $244 million, down from $318.5 million a year earlier
  • Full-year adjusted earnings per share are now forecasted between $11.50-$12.30, a reduction from the initial $12.90-$13.80

The Role of Shrink

The unanticipated inventory losses, referred to as “shrink” in the retail industry, have cast a shadow over the company’s financial performance. The company’s CFO, Navdeep Gupta, remarked that the organized retail crime incidents were notably higher than expected, which affected their Q2 outcomes. While shrink has weighed on several retailers, Dick’s Sporting Goods hadn’t previously highlighted this concern.

Industry-Wide Concern

Organized retail crime isn’t isolated to Dick’s Sporting Goods. Prominent retailers like Target, Best Buy, and Dollar Tree have also identified shrinkage as a factor denting their profits. In 2022 alone, Target mentioned a loss of $400 million in profits due to inventory shrinkage.

CNBC’s Examination

According to a three-part series by CNBC on organized retail crime, while retail theft is undoubtedly a concern, getting accurate metrics on it remains elusive. Some experts believe that retailers might be using theft issues to overshadow internal challenges, like excessive promotional activities and bloated inventory levels.

Inventory Management and Gross Margins

Inventory management decisions significantly impacted the company’s gross margins, which recorded a fall to 34.4%. The company had to aggressively mark down outdoor goods to accommodate new products, leading to a short-term challenge this quarter. According to Gupta, this inventory clearance action accounted for about one-third of the gross margin decline.


  • Drop in gross margins: 34% from 36% during the same period in the previous year.
  • Aggressive markdowns of outdoor products affected gross margins by 1.7 percentage points.
  • Shrink reduced gross margins by roughly 0.85 percentage points.

Company’s Perspective

Despite the setbacks, the company’s CEO, Lauren Hobart, remains optimistic. She emphasized that growth was observed across every income demographic. Further, Hobart addressed the industry-level problem of shrinking, advocating for collaboration between companies, trade organizations, and the government to mitigate its impact. Hobart vowed that Dick’s would enhance its security measures, including the installation of advanced lock-hop cameras and collaborations with local law enforcement.


The challenge posed by organized retail crime and aggressive inventory markdowns has undoubtedly impacted Dick’s Sporting Goods’ performance this quarter. Yet, the company remains resilient, gearing up to adapt and implement strategies to safeguard its interests. As Dick’s Sporting Goods faces what may be its most challenging day since its IPO in October 2002, the entire retail sector watches closely, reflecting on similar challenges they too might face.

As retailers navigate this challenging landscape, they’re likely to adopt newer technologies, form stronger collaborations, and reimagine strategies to ensure sustainability and growth. In the end, those that can adapt and evolve will not only survive but thrive in the ever-changing retail world.